PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 June, 2008, 12:00am

The Nile's ancient civilisation

I believe the ancient Egyptians were a civilised people for several reasons.

They had their own system of government.

Their society was like a pyramid, with the pharaoh at the top and the prime minister, priests, nobles, officials and scribes below him.

They were a religious people. They believed in many gods and goddesses and built temples in which to worship them.

Around 3500BC the ancient Egyptians invented a type of writing called hieroglyphics. They also invented or used many farming tools, including shadufs to raise water, ploughs to turn the soil and sickles to harvest crops.

The reed was used by them to make boats, pens and paper. Paper was an ancient Egyptian invention.

They devised a calendar with 365 days. They also invented the water-clock and the sundial to count time. They divided each day into 24 hours.

The ancient Egyptians invented their own numbers to help calculate the areas of a square, circle and triangle.

They fished and traded along the Nile, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

And, of course, they built the huge pyramids, the tombs of pharaohs and important people.

Yam Hei-tung, Our Lady of the Rosary College

Learning at work as well as at school

I have taken a break from studying hard to work part-time as a waitress in a restaurant.

I was very nervous dealing with my first customer - she scolded me loudly, was rude when ordering a super-size meal, and I saw her complain furiously to my boss. I felt scared and helpless.

But my boss just calmed me down and hoped that I could do a good job in the future. Within a few minutes the restaurant was full of customers, among them a very harmonious family. They were very patient and helpful, and they thanked me when I brought their food. I found their courtesy very reassuring.

My work went on until night, but I didn't feel tired or upset again. Undeniably, I learned a lot from my first day in my job.

Lee Siu-ping, STFA Lee Shau Kee College

You must enjoy studying to succeed

My peers always describe their preparations for an exam as a form of suffering. They say it is impossible to memorise all the information. Actually, the reason they struggle is because they have no passion for their work.

If you dislike doing something, you can never do it well.

Those who are successful in their exams are not hard-working, they just spend their time on what they enjoy - in the same way some teenagers spend their time playing games, such as PSP and NDS.

I don't think students should blame a difficult paper or bad teaching for their failures. A result must have its cause.

Abby Lam, Wesley College

No more space for waste in HK

Hong Kong's population produces 600 million tonnes of solid waste every year. Our city cannot handle it anymore, and our three landfill sites are going to be full very soon.

The government has been researching ways to reduce waste but students can help, at school and at home.

At school we don't have to throw away plastic bags, papers, lunchboxes, and the like. Partially used paper can be used for drafts and for photocopying, and we should consider using recycled paper. We can also use reusable bags, lunchboxes and tableware.

At home, we can buy large bottles of soft drinks instead of cans, and these bottles can then be used for other purposes. We should avoid fast food, as it is not only bad for our health, it is usually packed in plastic bags or cans.

Instead of wasting tissues and napkins, we can use handkerchiefs, which are reusable.

All these measures can reduce the problem and much of what is left can be sorted for recycling, further reducing the burden on our city's landfills.

Steve Law, SKH Li Fook Hing Secondary School

Let's put local students first

Hong Kong only has a few universities and some students from local secondary schools are not able to get places at them.

One reason for this is that universities are admitting more and more non-local students.

There is an important fact we should not forget - many local students can meet the basic requirements of university admission. However, they do not get places because of the excellent academic performance of some non-local students.

We should be grateful that Hong Kong's medical services put the needs of local women first during pregnancy. But why then have plans been proposed to admit more non-local students to Hong Kong's universities?

Crystal Lee

Text messaging : boon or bane?

SMS usage is getting more and more popular. Even some A-Level candidates are allowed to check their results via SMS.

But text messaging can also cause us big trouble.

Five years ago, Sars had spread widely through Hong Kong. On April 1, 2003, a youngster sent an SMS to many people, claiming Hong Kong was soon to be formally declared 'an infected place'. This caused mass panic and buying throughout the territory.

The great instability that followed showed how powerful text messaging can be in the spreading of rumours.

But text messaging is neither good nor bad; it depends on how we use it.

Jessica Lo Hoi-man, King Ling College